From USA Today:
The Supreme Court blocked an innovative Internet streaming service Wednesday from potentially upending the way Americans watch television.
The justices sided 6-3 with the nation’s major TV networks and cable companies against Aereo, an Internet startup that rebroadcasts live programs to subscribers without paying retransmission fees.
. . . .
Aereo had argued that it differed from cable and satellite services because each subscriber is assigned an individual, dime-sized antenna, often stored on rooftop circuit boards. But a majority of justices saw those antennas as just a way around copyright laws.
“Aereo’s system is, for all practical purposes, identical to a cable system,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote for the majority. “Both use their own equipment. Both receive broadcast television programs, many of which are copyrighted. Both enable subscribers to watch those programs virtually as they are being broadcast.”
In making their limited ruling against Aereo, the justices stressed that new technologies such as cloud computing should not feel constrained. During oral arguments in April, Aereo’s attorney, David Frederick, said “the cloud-computing industry is freaked out about this case.”
“We believe that resolution of questions about cloud computing, remote storage DVRs, and other novel matters not now before us should await a case in which they are clearly presented,” Breyer said.
Link to the rest at USA Today and thanks to Joshua for the tip.
PG thought Aero had done a masterful job of designing its system around copyright law as construed in prior Supreme Court opinions but, obviously, he (along with three Supreme Court justices) was wrong.
The case does illustrate one way of responding to disruptive technology – having it declared illegal.